Note: We must say that we are only trying to be a guide. Please do not take what is written here as the final word. Consult a health professional for more comprehensive information in relation to your personal needs.
There are more types of wheelchairs -
brands and styles -
than can be counted. We can't say what is best, hopefully if you are contemplating travel then your wheelchair issues will have been sorted out and you will be using one that is comfortable and friendly on your body.
We can say though that if you use an electric wheelchair you should consider the recharging of batteries. You should check the voltage used in the country or countries you are going to. This can usually be done on the internet.
Do a search on the internet or tryInternational Voltages- you may find that you need to carry a voltage converter to change the voltage to your requirements. Also heck the plug type that is used. These vary from place to place. Try going to Interpower for a view of many of the plugs. We also use good camping stores that often have a variety of these plug adaptors you can buy. You will still need to do a little research as they may have what you want, but the country you need may not be listed on the product.
If you use a manual chair, we believe that a folding chair is better than a rigid frame. This is because the foldng chair will take up less space than the rigid.
Before you leave, make sure that your chair is in top condition. If something goes wrong with the chair in a foreign country it may be hard to get repaired. Spare parts will most likely not be available and somtimes parts will need making. We had a chair frame break in Botswana. The bracket that held the right wheel in place was poorly made to begin with. It broke in half and would no longer hold the right rear wheel in place. Obviously there were no wheelchair spare parts shops around, so we had to find someone to make a part from scratch with only the broken part as a guide. What would be virtually impossible at home was much easier than we thought where we were.The guy that made the new part also made a copy in case his new part broke. The new part was cheap and this new part didn't break either. The chair is still being used today.
Cushions for you chair should be selected. How your skin reacts to prolonged periods in the chair may be an indicator to the correct type of cushion to use - foam, gel, inflatable. You will undoubtedly have to wait prolonged times in airports and this may need to be taken into account with cushions. You will not be able to sit in your chair on the plane. You can use your wheelchair cushion in the plane seat for prolonged trips but that is not always practical, and may cause balance issues.
Always insist on going to the door of the plane in your own chair when boarding. This has two effects. Firstly you are in your own chair and not in an airport chair that may potentially do you more harm than good. Secondly, taking the chair to the door of the plane means that someone has to come and get the wheelchair from you after you transfer to a plane aisle-chair. This usually means that the person taking the chair from you will take it direct to the hold of the plane. It's a little more confidence boosting than worrying on a long flight if your chair is on the same flight with you. Take any loose parts off the chair, and take them on board the plane with you - armrests, cushion, etc. - this avoids loss.
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